Classic Porsche



Without customer satisfacti­on, it won’t be long before you have no business. Ultimately, a successful company in the automotive trade, regardless of the type of work being carried out, requires honesty and openness with its customer base. Be straight-talking from the outset and you won’t go far wrong...

After cutting my teeth in various bodyshops in and around Leeds, I could see a gap in the market for a trusted paint specialist that could not only deliver faultless work when dealing with prestigiou­s vehicles, but also one that could offer a personal touch. In short, making the customer experience as straightfo­rward and comfortabl­e as possible was key to ensuring repeat business. Though the high number of premium vehicles Project Customs welcomes into its workshop is constantly increasing, it’s important to note the same attention to detail and excellent workmanshi­p is applied to all cars the company’s small, dedicated team works with, regardless of make or model. It’s this superb service, coupled with value for money and, of course, turning out excellent work time and again, that our keeps customers coming back.

The approach I’ve always taken in business is to ensure complete customer satisfacti­on at all times. At the end of the day, unsatisfie­d customers can lead to no business whatsoever, which is why completing every Project Customs job to the highest standard is of paramount importance to myself and my team, whether we’re working on a Ferrari, Mclaren or a Porsche. My advice to anyone thinking about becoming a service provider in the automotive industry, whether it’s the kind of work we do, car sales or a pursuit focused on engineerin­g solutions, is to make sure you finish each job as close to the set timeframe as possible. Your work can be brilliant, but if you consistent­ly struggle to complete work on time, you’ll find your customers are just as frustrated as if you’d underdeliv­ered with the quality of the finished job you’re charging for.

Key to success on this front is knowing how to quote accurately. Admittedly, much of this comes down to experience, but I’m always straight with Project Customs clients — if a customer walks into my workshop and tells me we have a week to restore a show car in order for it to head out the door and win some awards, I have no problem explaining unrealisti­c expectatio­ns are at play. Not pandering to these demands ensures customers understand timescales are to be appreciate­d from both our side and theirs. In my experience, this honesty, which provokes discussion leading to the establishi­ng of a realistic project timeline, results in a far better and longer lasting relationsh­ip between all parties. Everyone knows where they stand. This is the ideal scenario. I don’t want my team or the car’s owner to feel let down if things were to go avoidably wrong.

This honest approach also leads to forging a customer base of people you end up considerin­g friends, rather than them simply being clients. It’s not unusual for owners of cars we’ve worked on to pop by for a cuppa and a chat while we’re toiling away. I like to think this highlights how approachab­le and friendly we are as a team. It’s what every business owner should aspire to, but it’s not something the body shop trade always gets right, especially in the premium marque sector — the more we talk to industry folk about how we operate, the more I hear opinion amounting to us over-delivering on the customer experience. My response is usually to point out that at Project Customs, the relationsh­ip between my team and clients feels personal because, to us, that’s exactly what it is. It feels friendly because that’s what we are.

It’s an enjoyable experience because everybody gets what they want out of the work. I couldn’t be happier! Of course, I don’t want to make it sound as though everything is rosy in the world of automotive bodywork. There’s a lot of hard graft behind the scenes to ensure happy customers and, as anyone running a business will know, there are always challenges to be met head-on. That said, I truly believe being open and honest with customers (and staff) about timescales and any problems encountere­d during the work plays a massive part in achieving high client retention. It also means goals can be adjusted by having an executable strategy available at all times. And, at the end of the day, our reputation as a first-class provider of high-end automotive bodywork repairs and paintwork has been achieved by delivering top quality work on time, every time.


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 ??  ?? Craig Cullingwor­th is Managing Director of Project Customs. In addition to working on a strong portfolio of Porsche projects, he and his team are the only approved Mclaren bodywork specialist­s in Yorkshire. projectcus­
Craig Cullingwor­th is Managing Director of Project Customs. In addition to working on a strong portfolio of Porsche projects, he and his team are the only approved Mclaren bodywork specialist­s in Yorkshire. projectcus­

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